Soon to be on the menu

I've been at it again, wasting copious amounts of time on food blogs and recipe sites, ogling food porn and salivating at ingredient lists. Might have something to do with seeing The Islands Project at the Vancouver International Film Festival last week. By the time in the film they started serving an eight course meal of oysters, I was completely maxed out, and the film was *far* from vegetarian friendly, but it gave me an appetite for getting back in the kitchen.

A friend also turned me on to a food blog called 101 Cookbooks. Heidi Swanson realized that her 100+ cookbooks were packed with sticky notes and reminder tabs but that she actually wasn't cooking anything new. She vowed to try new recipes and document the journey, which brings us to her beautiful food blog where new recipes are added every couple of days, accompanied by some of the most tantalizing food photography. This week I want to try her Slurp-tastic Herb Noodles:

4 ounces thin, dried spinach pasta (thin)
1 cup coconut milk (light is fine)
scant 1 tablespoon green or yellow curry paste
1 1/2 cups lightly flavored vegetable broth
~1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less depending on the saltiness of your broth)
6 ounces tofu, cut into small cubes or pieces
1/4 cup chives, minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped just before using
pinch of crushed red chile peppers

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. This is eventually going to be the pot you cook the pasta in.

In a separate large, thick-bottomed pot, bring 1/4 cup of the coconut milk to a simmer, mash and stir the curry paste into the coconut milk so there are no lumps. Now add the rest of the coconut milk and the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the tofu. Taste and decide if you need to add more curry paste or salt - if you do want to add more curry paste at this point, make a slurry by combining the additional curry paste and a bit of the broth, working any lumps out - add this to the pot.

Back at the pasta pot, salt the water generously and cook the pasta per package instructions. Drain.

Just before serving stir the chives, cilantro, and basil into the curry pot. To serve, place a nice helping of noodles in the center of each bowl and finish with a ladle of the curry and tofu along with a tiny pinch of crushed red chile peppers.

Serves 2 to 4.

Since that recipe takes 1 cup of coconut milk, I went searching for another coconut milk recipe to finish off the remainder of the can. Luckily I found Spicy Sweet Potato and Coconut soup that calls for seasonally abundant sweet potatoes. Sorry, no picture is available.


* 1 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
* 1 tablespoon red curry paste
* 1 (15 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
* 3 cups vegetable broth
* 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon sea salt
* 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place the sweet potatoes directly on the rack and bake until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and heat for 1 minute, then whisk in the coconut milk and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and cut into bite size chunks. Add to the soup and cook for 5 more minutes so they can soak up the flavor. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and a little bit of cilantro.

But now I really have to get back to work! Put DOWN the food porn, liminal! Pick UP the thesis proposal!

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